Looking back: Top 10 ski and snowboard stories of 2014

Kim Kardashian may have dominated headlines this year, but 2014 was one for the books in snow sports. Olympic debuts, tragedy, and glow-in-the-dark skiing were just a few of the big stories in 2014—a year that belonged to the skier chick. We couldn't go into 2015 without taking a look back at the last 365, so here's the top 10 stories that caught our attention in 2014.

1. 'Afterglow' brings us glow-in-the-dark skiing

Many have tried, but no one really pulled off the idea of skiers glowing in the dark quite like Sweetgrass Productions did this year in its short film, "Afterglow." Working in conjunction with Philips TV, the avant-garde production company that brought us "Valhalla" and naked skiing just a year ago blew minds once again with a visual spectacle of the utmost degree.

2. Cody Townsend hits insane Alaska couloirs, 'The Crack'

Freeski daredevil Cody Townsend nearly broke the Internet in December when a video of him skiing one of the most harrowing couloirs ever attempted hit the web. The stunt earned him three accolades at last month's Powder Awards, including Best Line and Best Male Performance. Later it was revealed that snowboarder Travis Rice had hit the line a few weeks before Townsend, but it didn't stop Townsend from becoming a viral superstar overnight. The guy even got love on the "Today" show, come on.

3. South American avalanches claim three mountain legends

Freeskier Andreas Fransson died in an avalanche in 2014.

Andreas Fransson was one of three snow-sports legends we lost in South American avalanches early this fall. Photo courtesy of Salomon

The close-knit snow-sports world was rocked in early September when it lost three legends in one afternoon. Big-mountain skiers Andreas Fransson and J.P. Auclair, plus snowboarder/mountain guide Liz Daley, died in two separate slides in the Andes, less than 100 miles from each other. The events were two of the biggest, and most tragic, of 2014.

4. All-female ski flick 'Pretty Faces' sticks it to the boys

There's little doubt that 2014 was all about the ladies. Angel Collinson earned opening-segment honors in the year's TGR flick "Almost Ablaze," and Lynsey Dyer's Unicorn Picnic crew released the most impressive all-female ski movie to date, "Pretty Faces." The movie featured women of all ages skiing just about everything imaginable, telling the story of the ski girl beyond the image of fuzzy white coats and tight leggings. Selling out nearly every stop of its tour, "Pretty Faces" put the boys on notice for 2015.

5. American David Wise wins first Olympic halfpipe skiing gold

David Wise wins Olympic gold

There was no stopping American David Wise in 2014, who became the first man to win an Olympic gold in halfpipe skiing. Photo courtesy of Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

The fervor surrounding the addition of freeskiing to the 2014 Sochi Olympic came to a head in men's halfpipe skiing as the whole world watched American David Wise lay down a near-flawless run to claim the sport's first Olympic gold. Americans Maddie Bowman and Joss Christensen took gold in women's halfpipe skiing and men's slopestyle skiing, respectively, but the headlines belonged to the Wiseman.

6. The coldest day of the year will be in winter!

Winter weather is always a toss-up.

When’s the coldest day of winter? We don’t know, and neither do you. Photo courtesy of NOAA

Global warming, El Niño, the Polar Vortex: What does winter have in store for us this year, and what does it mean for our beloved skiing and snowboarding? Every year we tear our hair out trying to model weather three months out, but as GrindTV contributor Derek Taylor puts it, "here's what we can definitely predict for the upcoming weather: Abso-f*#%ing-lutely nothing." His hilarious commentary on futile weather predictions is one of the best snow reads of 2014.

7. Angeli Vanlaanen overcomes disease to win spot on Olympic team

One of the biggest stories leading up to Sochi 2014 was the qualifying success and unprecedented comeback of American halfpipe skier Angeli Vanlaanen. Plagued by chronic Lyme disease that crippled her under muscle weakness, vertigo, and fainting, Vanlaanen was finally healthy enough to compete and made the cut in 2014.

8. Snowboard legend Jeremy Jones completes film trilogy with 'Higher'

Four years since blowing minds with his snowboarding epic "Deeper," Jeremy Jones completed his movie trilogy by releasing "Higher" this fall and effectively altering what we thought possible on a snowboard. While Jones and his environmental-advocacy group saw their efforts rewarded with President Obama's sweeping climate-change policy, it was the snow-sport legend's final movie installment that had the snow world buzzing in 2014.

9. Mega ski resort proposed in Utah

ONE Wasatch would change skiing in Utah.

A look at the future of Utah skiing? ONE Wasatch, as proposed this past winter. Photo courtesy of Ski Utah

This year was a turbulent one for Utah snow enthusiasts as mountains battled for supremacy in the Land of the Best Snow on Earth. After months of litigation, Park City finally gave in to big dogs Vail, who purchased the resort and promised to combine Park City and neighbor resort Canyons by 2016. That move will make it the second-largest resort in North America (Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia is still king in that department). Also proposed was the ONE Wasatch, an initiative that would connect all seven of the Wasatch ski areas into one mega-resort. There were still a few flaws in the plan, including Alta and Deer Valley refusing to let snowboarders on their terrain (a fight that also made headlines in 2014), but with plans finally laid out, who knows what Utah's ski and snowboard landscape will look like in the next few years.

10. Lindsey Vonn pulls out of Olympics

Lindsey Vonn scratches from Olympics.

There was no gold in the cards for Vonn this Olympic go-around. Photo courtesy of USSA

Lindsey Vonn's race to get healthy in time for the Olympics was one of the ongoing storylines of the last two winters (it might have even gotten more media play than news about her boyfriend, Tiger Woods). After making a rather miraculous (and rapid) comeback from ACL surgery, she wasn't able to regain full strength in time for Sochi and had to pull out of the Olympics. Don't worry, though: She's already got a World Cup win under her belt this season.

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